Healthy Lambs

July 2022 Lambs 2 – 4 weeks old

Sheep farmers like healthy lambs. Healthy lambs make us money. I often get asked by first time lamb owners about the lump in the throat latch, worried that their lambs are wormy.

The lambs in the above picture are healthy lambs. The lamb in front shows the lump in the throat latch area, commonly called a milk goiter or milk fat lump. I like to see this lump as the lamb is fat and mom is doing her job feeding the lamb. If that lump is missing, I am concerned.

Lamb with bottle jaw

The lamb in the above picture, is a lamb with bottle jaw. Notice the swelling starts at the chin and lower jaw then extends toward the throat latch area. Bottle jaw is a sign of malnutrition, often caused by internal parasites.

I check my ewes 4 -6 weeks before lambing for internal parasite using the FAMACHA score. If they have a lower score, the are dewormed. Preventive maintenance in the ewe flock assists in having healthy lambs.

If I have a group of lambs that have their milk fat, and one or two that do not, I look at the ewe. Perhaps this ewe has developed mastitis and not producing the milk the lamb needs. Another possibility is the ewe needs to be dewormed. The stress and hormones at the time the ewe delivers does cause the internal parasite to release an abundant number of eggs. A ewe with a high number of internal parasite will not produce the milk for her lamb(s).

A sheep farmers needs a watchful eye on his flock. There are many indicators that the sheep are starting to have health issues.

Your sheep show you how well you watch and care for them. They will also repay you for the care by producing and growing good lambs that can be sold.


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